Thursday, March 12, 2009

Catching Some Zzzzs (or not)

I've not slept well for the past couple of weeks because of a bad cold. Even three hours at a time is a blessing. So it was with great interest that I read Michelle Slatalla's column in the New York Times today, in which she describes her attempts to get more shut-eye.

For most of my life I've been a good sleeper. My first round of wakefulness was when I was pregnant. I remember how frustrated I was with the notion that this was "normal" - that it was preparing me for the sleeplessness I'd experience as a mother of a newborn. It hardly seemed fair -- why did I need practice being sleepy?

And then there were agonizing years when I had to be up every couple of hours to feed my babies. Truly, there were times that I wasn't sure I was going to make it.

But although my children are well past the age when they routinely need me at night, I still find out that I wake up occasionally in the wee hours. In most cases this means that something is wrong. As with my recent bout of insomnia, sometimes I am uncomfortable because of a cough or congestion. Sometimes, I am worried about items on my "to do" list that need to be done. Sometimes I need to answer nature's call. Sometimes it is even one of the boys again, having a nightmare or feeling poorly. But mostly the wakefulness doesn't last and I'm soon sleeping through the night again.

So it is interesting to find out that increasingly, nighttime wakefulness is likely to be with me for the rest of my life - it is a normal and natural part of the aging process. I'm not looking forward to it.

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